Jose Luis Magana / AP
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Warns Democrats that if the House is asked to rule the January election, they will have to win not just a majority in the House, but the majority of any state delegation.
If the election result is not clear by January 6th, the decision goes to the House. However, voting is not as easy as with Democrats with a majority of seats overall. Each state would receive a single vote, determined by the party that has the majority of the members from that state.
Pelosi outlined the once-far-fetched scenario in a letter to the Democrats over the weekend. She urged its members to transfer money to the House Democrats’ fundraising arm, House Majority PAC, to support campaign funds in battlefield districts.
“We can’t leave anything to chance. House Majority PAC is doing everything it can to attract more delegations to Democrats,” Pelosi said in the letter sent from her campaign email. “It’s sad we have to plan that way, but it’s what we have to do to make sure the elections aren’t stolen.”
Pelosi said the letter was in response to comments made by President Trump at a weekend rally in Pennsylvania where he discussed the possibility of a Congressional decision on the election.
“I’ve been working on it for a while, I’ve been working on almost every plan he might need to steal the choice,” Pelosi said on MSNBC Monday. “Anything we do to increase our number in the House of Representatives, whether government delegations or members of Congress, will help us keep the House and grow our size, win the Senate and win Joe Biden on Election Day To elect the President of the United States. ” – or the few days it takes to count. “
Trump told his supporters that he wants to avoid the choice being decided by the Supreme Court or Congress.
“I don’t want to go back to Congress either, although we have an advantage if we go back to Congress,” Trump said. “One vote is counted per state. So we actually have an advantage.”
Trump was referring to the current balance of state representation in the house. Republicans represent a majority of the House from 26 states; Democrats have a majority in 22 states. Another two, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are bound.
At no point in modern history, and only twice since the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804, has Congress been asked to vote in a presidential election. The last vote in Congress to decide on the presidency was in 1877.
Pelosi urged Democrats to prepare for the extremely rare circumstance, arguing that there was no way they could ignore an option in this election.
“Simply put, this strategy to protect our democracy and to elect Joe Biden will require all efforts and resources,” Pelosi said in the letter. “I ask you to help with this delegation strategy too.”
The coronavirus pandemic has turned this year’s elections on its head. With many more voters voting in the mail, the chances are the results won’t be clear on November 3rd. Given the many changes to state voting laws, there is also a higher likelihood of litigation this year.
Trump has further tarnished the waters by questioning the integrity of the elections and suggesting that if he loses, he will not necessarily agree to a peaceful transfer of power.